What is Burrata Cheese?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Burrata cheese is often served with prosciutto.
Burrata cheese is often served with prosciutto.

Burrata cheese is an Italian specialty cheese which was developed in the 1920s. Although the cheese remained largely confined to Italy in the 20th century, in the late 1990s, cheese fans in other regions of the world started cultivating an interest in burrata, and today it is available in many specialty shops and restaurants. Some people maintain that the best burrata cheese still comes from Italy, although some cheesemakers may disagree.

Burrata cheese is sometimes served with arugula.
Burrata cheese is sometimes served with arugula.

This cheese is derived from mozzarella, a fresh Italian cheese which is fairly well-known. To make mozzarella, cheesemakers add rennet to milk to curdle it, and then they plunge the curds into a hot water bath and knead them, creating glossy strings of cheese which can be molded into a variety of shapes. When cheesemakers create burrata, they make mozzarella and then shape it into a pocket, stuffing scraps of mozzarella into the pocket along with some cream, and then packing the cheese into a ball. It has been suggested that this cheese was probably developed as a way to use up scraps of cheese.

Burrata cheese begins with a base of mozzarella.
Burrata cheese begins with a base of mozzarella.

The outer layers of burrata cheese are resilient, glossy, and mildly flavored. The inside is rich, soft, and creamy, with an almost buttery texture and flavor; hence the name, because “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian. Many people serve this cheese whole, sometimes warming it slightly first and offering things like prosciutto or lightly-dressed arugula on the side on the side to bring out the natural flavors in the cheese. It can also be grilled, eaten straight, or tossed with salads and pasta, among other things.

Some modern-day cheesemakers use cow's milk, rather than buffalo milk, as the base for burrata cheese.
Some modern-day cheesemakers use cow's milk, rather than buffalo milk, as the base for burrata cheese.

Traditional mozzarella and burrata cheese are made from buffalo milk, a product which has been used in cheesemaking in Italy since the 1400s. Buffalo milk cheeses are classically bright white, and they have a flavor which is different from that of cow's milk cheeses. While modern cheesemakers often use cow's milk instead, since it is more readily available, if buffalo's milk burrata can be obtained, it is well-worth a try.

Burrata cheese is sometimes used as part of a tossed salad.
Burrata cheese is sometimes used as part of a tossed salad.

Classically, burrata cheese was wrapped in asphodel leaves before being taken to market. Consumers could be assured that their cheese was fresh by checking the leaves; wilted or withered leaves indicated an older cheese, which would be less desirable. Due to concerns about hygiene, many producers are forced to wrap their cheese in plastic, but often a few leaves are decoratively attached, referencing the classic packaging.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon117633

Does anyone know the calorie count in burrata cheese?

overreactor

I tasted burrata cheese while visiting Italy. It is a cheese that lasts but a few days, and can be bought in special stores only.

The cheese was used in salad, together with fresh, ripe tomatoes and basil. A mild, delicate and creamy cheese. Very tasty.

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    • Burrata cheese is often served with prosciutto.
      Burrata cheese is often served with prosciutto.
    • Burrata cheese is sometimes served with arugula.
      Burrata cheese is sometimes served with arugula.
    • Burrata cheese begins with a base of mozzarella.
      By: Marzia Giacobbe
      Burrata cheese begins with a base of mozzarella.
    • Some modern-day cheesemakers use cow's milk, rather than buffalo milk, as the base for burrata cheese.
      By: kostrez
      Some modern-day cheesemakers use cow's milk, rather than buffalo milk, as the base for burrata cheese.
    • Burrata cheese is sometimes used as part of a tossed salad.
      By: Gennadiy Poznyakov
      Burrata cheese is sometimes used as part of a tossed salad.